Derbyshire is a picturesque county – but it has a many a tale to tell.
Locals and thousands of visitors often stroll past buildings and landmarks
unaware that these were once the focus of intense drama and intrigue.
The nineteenth century transformed life in Derbyshire. The rapid growth in
urban areas caused much distress as well as prosperity.
Drinking led to violence
which, in turn, often led to murder. Quaint settlements such as Beeley, Smalldale,
Whatstandwell and Brackenfield were not immune.
Decisions made by Magistrates give some shocking insights into the plight of
some women in Victorian society. There are tales of Napoleonic officers on parole
in Chesterfield, a short-lived, but intense, local fascination with velocipedes and
many other strange stories.
All social classes play their part. The grand Palmer-Morewood family in
Alfreton provide a dramatic episode which, literally, assumes international
proportions. Events at Wigwell Grange eventually involve the Home Secretary.
However, a downtrodden ‘Comicle Article’ from the desperate ‘Yards’ area of
Chesterfield paints a picture much closer to home. The Vicar of Crich plays a
prominent role but, probably, wished that he did not.
Glyn Jones ranges over many of the most intriguing and sometimes
disreputable aspects of Derbyshire’s Victorian past to reveal an unexpected
history – amusing, tragic, ironic and occasionally downright shocking!
Glyn Jones is a former Deputy Headteacher who taught History for
thirty-four years in Alfreton. Since retirement he has been writing local
history and nostalgia articles which have been published widely.
He lives in Chesterfield.
Imprint: PiXZ. ISBN 978 0 85704 264 4, hardback, 210x148mm, 144 pages. Published June 2015.